December 23, 2011

A Day of Solitude by the forest

Just as the morning mist started to disappear and the jacket was taken off, the forest began to come alive. It is a small forest where I live, small but protected, ensuring that all beings can live their days in peace from depredation. The forest where I live may have a number of planted species, but the silence when within it never fails to impress me.

Today, was one of those of days when I was blessed to have an occasion to sit with the forest in total solitude, and what an experience it was. Birds chirping for as far as one could imagine and nobody around. A book in my handed, a book about the forests, Folded Earth, and I sat for long. Occasional phone calls altered the rhythm, I grew thirsty once and had to come back to civilization for a glass of water, but the silence kept calling me back and I sat in peace. After long, the peace that is not searched but comes to you naturally, I was blessed this morning.

December 11, 2011

Yes, Politics is killing the big Cats

Here where I live, I have a ringside view of how yes, politics is indeed killing this lovely animal called the tiger.  And the attack is multipronged. I have been seeing how enormously dedicated forest officials are enticed and entangled in the web of political conspiracies, how their image might be tarnished time and again by vested interests who will make sure that all the good work being done by them is brushed aside. How the advisory committee that half of this planet's sapiens are, will time and again criticize the work being done by the forest department for their interests.

Eight years of being in the wild and I have been fairly convinced that howsoever critical a role NGOs may play ( and I worked in an NGO before for four long years), the real person to bite the bullet is the man in khakhi. And what worries me the most is that a conservationist, oh that is what I like to call myself, and half of my breed will be more interested in that next funding, the big grant, a superlative endowment and of course, unhindered access to the forest. And if that hapless forest official has the guts to put an end to this condescending fellow, god forbid as the newspapers are waiting.

How priceless is that forest officer, who recently gave his heart and soul to save a tiger that strayed in parts of Coorg and gave away hefty compensations for animal deaths,, buying time for the tiger in the process, knowing fully well that the tiger will return soon enough to the forest. What is the value of the lakhs of rupees he might have spent as opposed to letting that tiger being bludgeoned to death in some estate. Does this officer not deserve some award for god's sake or does he deserve brickbats.... What about a  person who has stopped favour-seekers who had an unhindered acess to the forest by ticking them off and saying, please go by the main road and not be some exotic forest road.... What about a forest officer who has worked for more than what his brief calls for and has regulated tourism wit the attendant risk of being maligned by a set of hard bargaining photographers, what about a range forest officer who had the guts to stop a so called important person and had a charge made against him..... I, who worked with Keystone for so long wish that the department is respected for what it does sometimes......


Thanks to Ashwin for letting me see this.

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